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Robin Robinson - Citizen Columnist

Every plant has a purpose

The Potawatomi Indians believe that every plant has a purpose for being here. Robin Wall Kimmerer, botanist and Native American, spent time examining mosses. These were the first primeval plant to emerge from the oceans and establish growth on terra firma. She imagined that there must be importance for humans[…]

Palms have learned to weather the storm

Violent storms fling wind and waves ashore. Pieces of homes or limbs of trees slash through the landscape while we humans huddle inside our hopefully still-roofed homes. Hardwood trees and shrubs get their roots pulled out of the ground. But the hearty palm tree seems to weather the storms grandly.[…]

Watching plants grow requires patience

I sit beside the swimming pool watching my svelte daughter finish her 26 laps and remember just how many years I watched and waited for a child swimming in the pool. Now she takes long, strong strokes peppered with bobbing up like a dolphin. Children madly wave their arms trying[…]

It ain’t necessarily so

The current ecology mantra blames the woes of the natural world on careless or destructive humans. If humans would just leave everything alone, our ecosystem would be fine. That is not true in all cases. In the book “Braiding Sweetgrass” the botanist college professor gives her doctoral student the research[…]

Planting 100 trees

The United States took all of the land out west. My great-great-great uncle was a land surveyor assigned to create farm parcels out of the territory of Nebraska. Much of the land was prairie or sand hills, but the Alcorn River was surrounded by rich alluvial soil. He sent the[…]

A philosophy of reciprocity

We all could use a bit less anxiety and stress. I highly recommend going to sit under a tree. I am following the advice of botanist author Robin Wall Kimmerer, a member of the Potawatomi Nation, who wrote “Braiding Sweetgrass.” The book is a combination of scientific botanical facts and[…]

Toil through rain and soil

“The rain it cometh every day.” This does not bode well for putting roofers to work, but it is great for a landscape. We measure it in inches collected in a 1-inch-wide tube, but think about all the rain that falls on a whole island like Key West. A brief[…]

When old times are new again

When I was age 10 my family moved into a coal-burning Nebraska farm house. I was given a small, cold attic room as my new bedroom. Mother promised to make it pretty. She did so with several rolls of wallpaper from the sale bin. It was covered in huge lavender[…]